The founder of a new student housing support service has called on the government to clarify whether or not students will be included in plans to support renters through the cost of living crisis.
The government has suggested support might be on the way for renters unable to afford rents which have risen 16% this year– but there is no suggestion so far that this support will extend to struggling students.
Speaking on the BBC Michael Gove, the cabinet minister with responsibility for housing, was asked if renters can expect the government to help with their rent as landlords and letting agents continue to hike prices.
He stated:”We know people in the private rented sector and in the social rented sector are facing tough times. We are looking at a range of options to help them. It could mean targeted support for all sorts of people who are in difficulty.
“Rent is going to be one of the challenges people will face… There are different ways of supporting people, whether that’s through universal credit, the tax system, or direct support.
The Scottish parliament last month passed emergency legislation designed to protect tenants hit by the cost of living crisis that freezes rents until at least the end of March 2023.
Figures released this week by Rightmove report an annual increase for tenants in the cost of rented housing of 16.1% – with the average monthly rent hitting £1162 outside of London.
For the average priced student rented property of £148 a week that means an annual increase of £1239.
Analysis by student renting support service Very Wisre Student has indicated that students already spend 76% of their income on renting – even though almost two-thirds of them end up with complaints about the quality of their accommodation.
Very Wise Student founder Ajay Jagota responded to the reports:
“The impact of the cost of living crisis on students all-too-often goes under the radar, but they are in exactly the same position as other private renters, facing rising rents with restricted budgets which are already having to stretch further and further with every passing day.
“If the government is going offer support to renters, that support has to come in a way which applies to those in student accommodation – and if that support comes through universal credit or the tax system it must be mindful that students may not benefit from it.
“At Very Wise Student we’re seeing a steep spike in demand for our services – and that will come as no surprise to people who have seen pictures like the ones on national news of students in Durham queuing up overnight to try and find homes. A shortage of student accommodation is likely to force students into the arms of unscrupulous and uncaring landlords and letting agents peddling unsafe and unsanitary homes.
Helping Student renters get access to housing justice with free legal support and safety checks
“Very Wise Student helps all student renters get access to legal justice. Whatever the issue is with their rented student housing we will take up the issue directly with their landlord or agent – and if all this extra pressure is really getting on top of them, we can help with emotional support too.”
Very Wise Student offers students a free legal advice help line offering advice on:
- Disrepair issues in their flat or house
- Boiler problems
- Tenancy agreement disputes
- Damp in their flat or house
- Deposit issues
- Rodent and pest infestations
- Revenge issues
- Rent rises
- Landlord visits
The service also offers tax advice, including student loans, part time work and Council Tax.
All calls are handled by qualified solicitors with at least 5 years of post-qualification experience
A free and confidential counselling helpline also offers students support with academic pressures, personal problems and money worries.
Very Wise Student has been launched by online claims management firm Veriwise, in partnership with legal expense provider ARAG.
More information is available at Verywisestudent.io
Notes to Editors
Operating in the UK since 2006, ARAG plc provides a comprehensive suite of ‘before-the-event’ and ‘after-the-event’ legal expenses insurance products and assistance solutions to protect both businesses and individuals.
ARAG plc is part of the global ARAG Group, the largest family-owned enterprise in the German insurance industry. Founded in 1935, on the principle that every citizen should be able to assert their legal rights, ARAG now employs more than 4,700 people in 19 countries around the world and generates revenue and premium income totaling more than €2 billion.
Very Wise Student sister company Veriwise can take on housing disrepair claims, deposit disputes and illegal eviction claims on behalf of students should there be any issues.
Student renters can claim compensation from landlords or agents if there is a valid claim which is presented to legal counsel who can take the case to court to ensure the landlord complies and pays any compensation.
Veriwise and ARAG is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.